1480 – The broken road by Patrick Leigh Fermor part 3

1 xenonXenofontos

After completing his journey from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople in 1935 Fermor got back to Greece and visited Mount Athos for almost a month. On the last page of his diary/book, he wrote:

 I feel a great deal of regret at leaving this quiet and happy life. This last month will be an unbelievable memory when I’m back in England. I wonder when I shall be here again?

Here the last 6 monasteries he visited with quotes from the book and pictures by me.

1 xeno

Xenofontos: The archondaris, a sad, dark-bearded figure, led me to my room down one of the longest, gloomiest passages I’ve ever seen. The window overlooked the waves which broke a few yards below, and there was a Turkish cushioned window-seat running across the wall, the usual white-clumned plaster stove, and an ill-fitting door which admitted a chilling draught.2 doch2

The charm of Dochiariou, for me one of the most appealing monasteries, is the hill on which it is built, so that the roofs sloped down and down under my eyes, seawards, the tall cypresses jutting over the walls, and with the foreshortened monks, peasants and beast of burden in the steep courtyard below, under the church’s shadow, suggesting some peaceful little town of Arthurian legend.3 konsta

Konstamonitou, reached soon after (note: after Dochiariou hv), lies in a cup of the mountains, and has a forlorn and neglected air.4 zogra

Even in the distance Zografou amazed me by its size. It looked a bit like an Austrian schloss or hunting lodge of indeterminate style, huge and bare.

5 chilan

the Serbian monastery of Chilandariou, the faded tiles of the lichen-coated appearing above feathery treetops; in one wall a tall battlement tower overlooked the courtyard, with the four leaded Byzantine domes of the church and three cypresses, almost as high as the tower itself.

6 esfig

Esfigmenou: The kitchens are always cheerful and sunny. I have spent many pleasant times in them, over wildcat swigs of raki, talking with the monks, while the cook, his black gown laid aside, and his sleeves rolled back, busied hemself at the eternal task of coffee-brewing, pushing the blackened pannikins among the glowing charcoal.


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